Friday, November 27, 2015

My First Nutrition and Health Conference: Paleo-Primal-Price Foundation

Although I've been a member of the Weston A. Price Foundation for about 10 years (and a chapter leader for 4 years), I've never been able to attend any of the yearly WAPF conferences because of finances and having very young children. About a month ago, though, the folks from my affiliate partner Corganic invited me to attend the First Annual Conference of the Paleo-Primal-Price  Foundation, with free airfare and accommodations. Their offer took me by surprise, and I was excited to accept this invitation.

The Paleo-Primal-Price Foundation is a new organization being started by Dr. Ron Schmid, Dr. Kaayla Daniel, and David Gumpert. This new organization has the intent of bringing together the many perspectives of the real food community, including those who follow Weston Price, Primal, and Paleo diets.  One thing I found particularly exciting about this new organization is the fact that its inception is based on democratic principles, wherein the members elect the board and have a valued voice in the organization.

The People

Attending this conference was a fantastic opportunity for me to finally meet many whom I previously only "knew" through email and phone conversations, including Archie Welch and Kaayla Daniel. I also met many new people, including David Gumpert, Dr. Ron, Steve Tallent, and quite a few WAPF chapter leaders. It was amazing to see how quickly I could feel right at home with all of these new friends because of our common interests in real food and health. There were great conversations and ideas being shared about everything ranging from feeding our families to raw milk to the recent fermented cod liver oil controversy. With all of the people I met at the conference, there was a common thread of sincerity and dedication to truth which shined through and illuminated our conversations.    


The Food

Attendees at the conference were afforded three fantastic meals. My favorite dishes were:
  • pastured chicken braised in coconut oil
  • butternut squash soup made with pastured chicken broth
  • king salmon, which was the best salmon I have ever had
  • roasted parsnips and beets
  • flourless chocolate cake

Day 1

The first day of the conference was filled with interesting presentations about a variety of real food and health topics.  Given my background in implementing a Weston Price-based diet in my own family for many years and having previously strictly followed the GAPS Diet (which is very similar to Primal/Paleo) for over 18 months, there was not a lot of "new" information for me regarding nutrition. Nonetheless the presentations served as a nice review of information for me.

Two of the presentations, in particular, gave me some new perspectives to consider. Joan Grinzi, Executive Director of the Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation, presented "Gleanings: What Weston Price Really Said". It was interesting to dive deep into how Weston Price actually used cod liver oil in his nutritional therapies, and to know what he really said about cod liver oil.  Price did find that cod liver oil had superb health effects, but he also acknowledged that caution needed to be taken to ensure that too much cod liver oil was not being taken.  During Price's day, cod liver oils were generally rancid, and so Price new that taking it in large quantities could actually have negative health consequences. (I am so glad that now, because of modern technologies including natural antioxidants and nitrogen-flushing of bottles to prevent oxidation, my family can take cod liver oil that is actually fresh, raw, and not rancid.) Price also recommended that cod liver oil not be forced upon children, as their own instincts were a good guide as to how much to give them. Some more of the information Joan presented is included in this article.

I was also very interested to hear Randy Hartnell's presentation about "Seafood in Paleo/Primal/Weston Price Diets". Randy, the founder of Vital Choice Wild Seafood & Organics, presented very interesting information about how the consumption of abundant omega 3's (from ocean animals and plants) may have been an important factor in the evolution of the human brain. Randy also presented an excellent video about omega 3's and health, including the importance of proper omega 3/omega 6 balance. It was heartening to see the data Randy presented showing that many fisheries are becoming more sustainable; how we spend our food dollars really does make a difference!

Day 2

The first day of the conference was valuable, however I thought the second day was truly amazing. The democratic principles of the Paleo-Primal-Price Foundation were put into practice through small-group discussions whose intent was to crystallize the ideas and wisdom of all of the conference attendees. We worked diligently to review, critique, and brainstorm on the following:
  • the Mission Statement and overall purpose for the organization
  • membership rights and responsibilities, which include voting privileges and communications with the Board
  • by-laws for the new organization, which include democratic governance and transparency  
Following the small-group work, there were elections for the Board of the new foundation. I was moved by all of this, with the realization that the new Foundation really does value the input of its members and is stepping out with true dedication to democratic principles. I was gratified to be able to work so closely with such an intelligent, genuine, and passionate group of people.

My Take-Aways From the Conference

I came away from the conference with a few new goals and insights:
  • Eat more seafood: My son and I both love seafood, but since my husband and daughter are not very keen on it, I only cook seafood about once every few weeks. After hearing Randy's presentation on the importance of proper omega 3/omega 6 balance, I have the intention to incorporate more seafood into our diets. This will likely happen primarily at lunchtime, when I can try to positively influence my daughter's palate without her seeing that her father isn't wild about seafood. I'm looking forward to trying some new seafood recipes.
  • Attend more conferences: I am immensely thankful that I was given the opportunity to attend this conference. I returned home with fresh ideas and perspectives, and having made many new friends. This was the first time I have ever been away from my children for more than a few hours, and it ended up being a wonderful bonding time for my husband and children while I was gone. With all of these benefits, we will be budgeting in the future to allow me to attend more conferences such as this one.
  • Keep spreading the word about real food: Although my passion about health was sparked by learning about nutrition over 10 years ago, in the last few years my focus has shifted more towards homeopathy (which has worked better than dietary changes for healing chronic health issues in my family). Nonetheless, my family does eat a nutrient-dense diet, and I know that nutrition is a vital aspect of health. This conference has rekindled some of my old flame for sharing information about nutrient-dense diets.  

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Rebecca Heinemann said...

What fish is safest and healthiest to consume? Please share your recipes.

Sarah Smith said...

We usually eat salmon, which I prepare simply by pan-searing it and then eating it with homemade tartar sauce. We also eat mussels or clams often, especially since my son loves them. There is a good, simple clam recipe here:
And I have a recipe for mussels here:
For both of those recipes, I usually use vermouth in place of wine (since we don't typically have wine in the house, and vermouth is shelf-stable so it can last a long time even once it has been opened).

Anonymous said...

Hello Sarah, based on your blog article with an overview of your experience at the conference, I purchased on-demand recordings of the conference. To date, even though I have been charged, I have not received anything! I've been trying to contact someone via the website (there is no contact phone number), no one will respond. I am extremely disappointed and frustrated.

Sarah Smith said...

Sorry for your frustration with this! Dr. Ron apologizes that they have had some technical delays and that he did not put up a note about that on the website. He indicated that one of the recordings is going up now, they expect to have four of the videos up today, and the rest Monday.